Los Angeles isn’t renowned for coffee — a fresh-pressed juice or herbal drink is a far more likely candidate. But in recent years, a wave of coffee brewers have put the beverage back on the map, with custom machinery, bean varietals and loving attention to detail. First stop in Caffeine Country – LAMILL Coffee.
This cafe along Silverlake Blvd has a spacious, minimalist layout. White walls with blue accents surround a dark wood tables with faux croc chairs. Along with coffee (more about that later), it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food, mostly standard American fare with a high-end twist, doesn’t come cheap, but the quality is exacting. Choose from sandwiches, salads, eggs in breakfast fashions, asian plates, meat dishes and deserts that have truly earned the label “decadent.” The house-made brioche donut holes with a side of vanilla ice cream are a favorite. How good is the menu? It’s celebrity good. LAMILL is also a favorite of the Hollywood set who have the money, the taste, and the time for high-end meals and coffees.
Expect a packed cafe during weekend brunches. Even mid-week it hums with a caffeinated efficiency as customers fuel up for their meetings, projects and get-togethers. The upbeat, black-clad waitstaff will direct you to seat yourself anywhere you like, on the outdoor patio or inside tables, but if you can, snag one of the few chairs at the counter, and watch the baristas brew the reason you came here in the first place — coffee.
There are so many options, and that’s half the fun. Choose a type of bean from an array with descriptions that seem to resemble wines – the Rwanda coffee, for example, has a silky acidity and notes of spice and cocoa. Next, choose an extraction method. In order of ascending prices, the Clover and Steampunk are high-tech brew chambers; the Eva Solo is carafe-style; French Press is, naturally, press-style, and the Japanese Hand Drip is brewed at the table in a giant beaker that looks like it came from a coffee scientist’s laboratory. If it’s your first time, go for $3.50 Clover, which produces a nicely balanced coffee with a slow building buzz. LAMILL doesn’t limit itself to just coffee. There is an equally extensive menu of teas and espresso-based drinks (cappuccinos, creme brulee, cortados, cafe lattes and the like).
If you want to take a little bit of LAMILL with you, the LAMILL Boutique next door sells beans, blends and accessories.
Details: 1636 Silverlake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026. Open 7 days a week, usually 7 am to 10 pm.
Getting There. By bus, take the 201 down Silverlake Blvd. By car, from the 5 Freeway, take the Glendale exit and go down Silverlake Blvd past the reservoir to the cafe. There is a small parking lot along the cafe and free street parking is usually available.